183rd Fighter Wing [183rd FW]
The 183rd Fighter Wing tracews its origins to the 170th Fighter squadron.
The F-51 Mustang was the first aircraft assigned to the unit by the United States Air Force in late 1943 following the granting of federal recognition to an Air National Guard unit in Springfield.
The F-51, which has been billed as the worlds fastest propeller aircraft, was with the unit in May of 1950 when it moved into a new hangar at Capital Airport, and was still being used in March of 1951 when the unit was ordered to active duty for 21 months due to the Korean Conflict.
The 170th's next aircraft was the F-86 Sabre Jet, beginning on 18 November 1953 and for a duration of about fifteen months.
On the 2nd of February 1955, the first F-84F "Thunderstreak" arrived at Capital Airport to be flown by the 170th. The F-84F had the longest stay with the 183rd. It was still being used on 1 October 1961 when the 170th was called to active federal service due to the Berlin Crisis and also when the 170th Fighter Squadron became the 183rd Tactical Fighter Group in October of 1962. The aircraft remained with the 183rd TFG through the first 9 years of the Group's existence.
In 1971 the Air Force announced it was assigning some of its F-4 Phantom fleet to the Air National Guard, and the 183rd was the first Guard unit to receive the F-4.
On 31 January 1972, the first F-4 Phantom jet arrived at the 183rd's. In April of that year, four more Phantoms were delivered to the 183rd. And in April 1979, after some seven years of F-4 experience the 183rd Group and all assigned units were named recipients of the prestigious Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
Conversion from the "C" model to the F-4D aircraft began on 1 January 1981. Some two years later, the F4D's commenced a conversion program to the smokeless engine, thus eliminating the smoke trail, making it safer in combat situations in addition to the environmental benefits. The Phantoms of the 183rd were the first in the nation scheduled for the smokeless engine.
On 7 June 1989 the first two F16's landed at Capital Airport and were received by the 183rd. This was the beginning of the conversion from the F4D's to the F16's. May 5 1990 marked the official acceptance of the F16's to the 183rd, therefore making the 183rd a total F16 fighting unit.
The 1990's saw the 183rd Fighter Wing take part in a number of exercises: "Exercise Coronet Defender" in Denmark(1991); "Exercise Coronet Dragoon" in Denmark (1992); and "Exercise Cobra Gold" in Thailand (1994). The 183rd also deployed in support of a number of operations: to Poland in support of "Operation Southern Watch" in 1996 and 1997; to Poland in support of Operation Eagle's Talon Partner in Peace (1997); and to Panama in support of Operation Coronet Nighthawk (1998).
The Federal mission of the 183rd FW is to provide the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense a trained and equipped combat-ready fighter wing capable and ready for mobilization in time of war or National emergency as augmentation for the United States Air Force.
The state mission of the 183rd FW is to provide disaster relief in the event of natural calamity, maintain public peace and order, support civil defense and pre-attack planning. The Guard provides a trained cadre of personnel readily available to the Governor or the Adjutant General in all types of emergencies. This mission is only tested by the actual emergency.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Capital Airport Air Guard Station, IL. It would distribute the 183d Fighter Wing's F-16s to the 122d Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne International Airport Air Guard Station, IN, (15 aircraft). The 183rd's expeditionary combat support (ECS) elements, the Illinois ANG State Headquarters, and the 217th Engineering Installation Squadron would remain in place. DoD claimed that this recommendation was made becasue Capital (115) was ranked low in military value by the fighter MCI.
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